Last Updated on: 15th November 2023, 12:25 pm
Psittaciformes show love and affection to their flock, which can extend to human caregivers. Not all parrots are instant cuddle bugs, but they can form strong, long-lasting bonds with people.
Parrots don’t snuggle up in your lap like dogs and cats. They “cuddle” by rubbing their beaks against you, preening your hair, nestling against your neck, and standing on your shoulder.
Cuddly parrot species include conures, cockatiels, budgies, quaker parrots, lovebirds, and cockatoos. Of course, the personality and temperament of the parrot determine if it’ll like kisses and cuddles.
How Do Parrots Show Affection To Humans?
Parrots are a favorite animal companion in the United States. This is due to their affectionate nature, ability to talk, intelligence, fun-loving personalities, and long lifespans.
These gestures don’t always mirror the ways humans use to show fondness. For this reason, we sometimes overlook subtle gestures of love from parrots, including:
- Rubbing their beaks on us.
- Nipping at the skin.
- Singing or making noises.
- Seeking your company.
- Regurgitating food on you.
Regurgitation can signify that a lone parrot sees you as its mate.
The parrot may get close to your neck and rub its beak against you. It may even ‘kiss’ by pecking the skin without pressure. Parrots reserve this for those for whom they have great fondness.
Parrots usually nuzzle against your face, which they identify due to the placement of your eyes and mouth. It’ll be the same as when parrots nuzzle or groom each other’s faces.
Given that the face is such a delicate area, especially for birds, this signifies trust and affection. The parrot knows it won’t be harmed by entering this vulnerable space.
Calling And Noises
Parrots develop special contact calls for their flock, ranging from squawks to screams, to ensure their friends and companions are safe. The longer you ignore the parrot, the louder its contact call.
Cooing, singing, or purring indicates how much the parrot cares about you. The more noise is directed toward you, the more they care about your well-being.
Nips And Movements
Parrots that want to show affection move their mouths often, which may look like this:
Gentle nips (not hard bites) are given to parrots’ favorite people.
Wild parrots feed their young, mates, and closest friends this way. As a human, having food regurgitated on you is less desirable but implies a close bond.
Trusting actions, like preening, are reserved for a parrot’s favorite companion. Mates who trust each other will exchange grooming rituals.
Most Cuddly Parrots
Parrots are affectionate to humans once they’re closely bonded. However, some parrots are more likely to show their feelings than others. Cuddling takes a unique form, usually involving:
- Nuzzling against the neck.
- Hiding inside your shirt.
- Playing with your hair.
- Bumping you with its beak.
- Kisses on the lips.
If you want a parrot that can show its affection, these huggable parrots are the best options:
Friendly and cuddly, conures (Psittatus solstitialis) have larger-than-life, attention-seeking personalities.
Conures are affectionate toward their flock. This is also reflected in their behavior with their bonded human family.
They enjoy petting, handling, and perching on shoulders. Of course, all conures’ personalities are shaped by their personalities and life experiences.
The most affectionate pet conures include:
- Aratinga conures.
- Jenday conures.
- Green-cheeked conures.
- Patagonian conures.
- Sun conures.
Conures like preening human hair and beards. They aren’t shy about gentle nipping to show affection.
Nippiness is a common behavioral problem in conures, especially when their hormones are elevated. They can also be noisy birds if they learn that screaming results in attention.
Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are medium-sized birds from the cockatoo family. They’re often called weiro birds.
Cockatiels are very expressive, showing their affection through various movements and songs. Once they bond with their owners, they’ll constantly seek attention.
A unique aspect of the cockatiel is the crest atop its head, which indicates its current mood. A pressed-down crest means it’s on guard or hostile. When its mohawk is standing upright, it feels suspicious.
Their moderate size means getting bitten by a cockatiel isn’t overly uncomfortable.
They grow nervous in unfamiliar environments but come out of their shells once they’ve had time to adapt. Unfortunately, cockatiels are prone to night terrors.
Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) are intelligent and social birds that can bond closely with their owners.
Most like cuddling and petting, but some Quakers become defensive and possessive over their cage, toys, and possessions.
They dislike being left alone for too long. Quakers adapt well to family life but may prefer to be the only pet. They grow noisy and disruptive when upset.
Some U.S. states (like California and Hawaii) prohibit the ownership of Quaker parrots as pets.
African grays (Psittacus erithacus) are social and intelligent parrots that form close relationships with humans.
They’re highly attuned to their owners’ emotions but need frequent play sessions and undivided attention to stay happy.
African gray parrots sometimes become one-person birds. The entire family must be involved in their care to avoid this issue.
They enjoy some cuddling but prefer head scratches and rubs. Keep petting sessions short, noting if the bird grows unsettled to avoid getting nipped.
Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are among the most beginner-friendly parrot species.
They’re the most popular pet species due to their diminutive size, array of eye-catching colors, and affectionate nature.
Budgerigars are outgoing and friendly birds, but this energy will be intensified around their favorite person.
Yes, budgies can recognize people. This is evidenced in their willingness to snuggle up against your neck. Once there, budgies pick at earrings and tug at hair with their beaks.
Their tiny beaks are unlikely to harm humans, but all animals should be supervised around kids.
Despite being larger, most people find English budgies more relaxed than American budgies.
Cockatoos (Cacatuidae) are among the most affectionate parrot species due to their parents’ love, care, and protection.
The most cuddly cockatoo species include:
- Moluccan cockatoos.
- Umbrella cockatoos.
- Bare-eyed cockatoos.
- Blue-eyed cockatoos.
A cockatoo’s fondness for fuss means it’ll reciprocate with cuddles, gentle nibbles, and preening behavior. These outgoing birds need regular attention. Prepare for an intelligent and long-lived avian friend.
They make good family pets, but cockatoos have a painful bite if scared or startled. To avoid getting nipped, learn the warning signs (eye pinning, puffed-up feathers, crouching, etc.)
Despite their size, they’re among the most cuddly and affectionate parrot species. Considered friendly macaws, they love spending time with their human owners.
Hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) must spend time outside their cage in a parrot-safe room. This should be paired with ongoing training for socialization and development.
Hyacinths are loyal, growing excited when they see you. Consequently, you may find the parrot vocalizing or flapping its wings when you enter the room.
Hyacinth macaws are hard to acquire because of their vulnerable status. Due to their high price tag, size, and advanced emotional needs, they’re unsuitable pet birds for beginners.
Hyacinth macaws have a strong bite force, so note their negative body language and vocalizations.
Despite being social parrots who live in flocks, Lovebirds don’t need a companion to be happy and contented.
Lovebirds (Agapornis) bond closely with humans. A deep bond can be established if you invest time into the relationship.
A trusting lovebird will snuggle up against you.
These playful parrots may attempt to unfasten jewelry, tug at hair, or gently nibble skin. Lovebirds also show affection by chattering and whistling, vocalizing when you’re in the room.
The types of pet lovebirds include:
- Peach-faced lovebirds.
- Fischer’s Lovebirds.
- Black-Cheeked Lovebirds.
- Madagascar lovebirds.
- Lilian’s Lovebirds.
- Black-Masked lovebirds.
- Swindern’s Lovebirds.
- Red-Faced Lovebirds.
- Black-Winged lovbirds.
Lovebirds are devoted and loving birds, attaching themselves unwaveringly to a human owner. This devotion means there’s a tendency to show jealousy toward others.
If you get a second same-species bird, this is likely to affect your relationship.
Why Isn’t My Parrot Affectionate?
Even if you get a cuddly parrot species, it may be disinterested in snuggling.
Whether the parrot is affectionate or not depends on the following factors:
- Health status.
- Cage size and dimensions.
- Cage mates.
Insufficient Time Together
Parrots’ intelligence means they can form deep, complex bonds with humans.
The following factors can affect your relationship:
- Rarely sees you.
- Doesn’t play with you regularly.
- Hasn’t been well-trained.
- Someone else feeds it.
Developing a parrot-human bond takes time and considerable effort.
Parrots take a breach of trust seriously, so they may become less affectionate if:
- Accidentally startled or hurt.
- Another pet or person gets more attention.
- You fail to provide a suitable diet or feed them infrequently.
- Seldom allowed out of its cage.
If a parrot was owned by someone who mistreated it, and you resemble that person in some way (similar hair, clothing, fragrances, etc.), this can lead to trust issues.
Not A Favorite Person
If you share care responsibilities, the parrot may choose a favorite person. It’ll be more willing to cuddle with that person over anyone else. It won’t be as warm and affectionate if that person isn’t you.
Personality And Temperament
Regardless of species, it may not be in the parrot’s nature to snuggle up to people. If this is the case, strengthen your bond with the parrot to see if it warms up to you.